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Exporters help earn valuable foreign exchange: FTO

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Exporters help earn valuable foreign exchange: FTO

KARACHI: Federal Tax Ombudsman Dr. Asif Mahmood Jah has said that exporters are serving the nation through exports and earning valuable foreign exchange. Economic Activity and Exports are crucial and harmony between the taxpayers and collector is imperative in the interest of the country. Resolving the tax matters of exporters should be among the priorities of FBR, says a Press release.
This was stated by him during his visit to Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PHMA), PHMA House, Karachi. He was accompanied by Manzoor Hussain Qureshi, Advisor (Incharge) Income Tax / Sales Tax, Manzoor Hussain Memon Advisor (Customs), Badruddin Ahmad Qureshi, Advisor and Abid Mehmood Director Admin.
He said the office of the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) is fully committed to fairly and independently correct the lacunas and flaws in taxation system, particularly the maladministration. Currently FTO is working to create FTO Portal on the pattern of Prime Minister’s Portal in order to swiftly and promptly address the complaints. FBR Officials should work on an open-door policy to resolve the issues of taxpayers then and there. FTO shall take its own motion with regards to undue repeated Notices for Audit and uncalled-for demands of documents from exporters which are available in the FBR system / portal.
FTO’s vision is to achieve a taxpayer’s friendly, corruption free, efficient and merit-based tax administration and its mandate focuses on to investigate, diagnose, redress and rectify maladministration of tax functionaries and issue necessary recommendations. Aggrieved taxpayers may file their complaints in any such maladministration like cases of discrimination, delay in discharging duties & responsibility, injustice, non-transparency, non-payment of refunds, rebates within time, coercive method of recovery in case where default in payment of duty & tax is not apparent from the record and issuing repeated notices, unnecessary attendance or prolonged hearings while deciding the cases etc.
The FTO as per the law may exercise its jurisdiction and authority for Complaint by aggrieved persons, Reference by President, Parliament, Supreme Court and High Court, Own motion, Inspections and Research Studies in the larger interest of the country. As suggested by PHMA, the FTO appreciated and confirmed introduce and establish Help Desk to facilitate taxpayers / businesspersons in FBR, Custom and RTOs, Dry Ports and Pak-Afghan Borders.
Addressing the value-added textile exporters, FTO took pride in stating that the FTO Offices across Pakistan were holding the professional advisers having high integrity and fame with remarkable career of service to the country. The FTO team has strong believe in service to Pakistan and reciprocate to the society and citizens. He informed that being the FTO, he would like to work to broaden the scope of work of FTO Office, bring more reforms and necessary legislation shall be proposed in this regard.
The FTO gave patient hearing to the problems and issues apprised by the M Jawed Bilwani Chief Coordinator & Former Chairman (PHMA), Abdul Rehman, Chairman, Abdul Kadir Bilwani, Senior Vice Chairman, Faisal Arshad Sheikh, Vice Chairman, Junaid Makda, Aslam Karsaz, Abdul Jabbar Gajiani, Bashir Ghaffar, Khizer Mehboob, Ali Murtaza Panju, Salman Ishaq, Ilyas Gigi and other leading textile exporters.
Jawed Bilwani in this welcome address to Honourable FTO conveyed gratitude for his visit to PHMA. Exchanging views he stated that the exports are lifeline to the economy and enhancement of exports is inevitable. Due to unwise policies of the successive governments the national exports have not been increased up to its optimum potential. The exporters are working day and night throughout the year in order to enhance its export production despite of the presence of unprecedented challenges and problems. Core issue is the availability of liquidity which becomes a huge problem when it is stuck up with the FBR. He recalled that with the imposition of Sales Tax huge liquidity was stuck up while the Government took more than 16 months to improve its FASTER system to ensure speedy refunds, however, during this period small exporter closed down their export units due to liquidity crunch as their liquidity was stuck over 16 months. Bilwani drew the attention of the FTO towards repeated notices issued to exporters with regards to audits of sales tax and income tax. He also requested to the FTO to take cognizance of the sales tax refunds on services stating that 10 years back FBR and SRB had signed a MoU to integrate their systems in order to streamline and centralize the process the sales tax on services but no progress till date. Billions of rupees of exporters in shape of sales tax refunds against services are lying pending. He also requested to FTO to take Suo Moto against undue repeated Notices for Audit and uncalled-for demands of documents from exporters which are available in the FBR system / portal. Human intervention in the FBR System must end. He was of the view that in case if any amount of exporters are stuck up with the Government in shape of tax refunds, no new tax demand should be raised and any due taxes if applicable should adjusted against refund demand.
Junaid Makda, Former Chairman requested the FTO to also introduce and establish Help Desk to facilitate taxpayers / businesspersons in FBR, Custom and RTOs Offices, Dry Ports and Pak-Afghan Borders. Aslam Karsaz, Former Chairman highlighted problems faced by exporters who have been issued new NTNs having alphabets which have compatibility problem in the FBR System.
Manzoor Hussain Memon Advisor FTO gave a presentation and highlighted that FTO Office during the year 2020 received 3,888 total cases and disposed of 3,555 cases with ratio of acceptance 80.03% and ratio of challenged recommendations 19.97%. The PHMA also lauded the philanthropic activities of Dr. Asif Mahmood Jah. While concluding the meeting, FTO assured to address all the genuine grievances of exporters.